Brandon Wood Rumors
Here are today's minor moves from around the league.
- The Orioles have released DH Jack Cust and 1B Matt LaPorta, MASNsports.com's Steve Melewski reports. Cust was out of baseball in 2013 but hit .243/.400/.442 in 493 plate appearances for two Triple-A teams in 2012. He has played in parts of two big-league seasons, collecting by far the most playing time as a DH/OF for the Athletics from 2007 through 2010. LaPorta, 29, hit .238/.310/.476 in 184 plate appearances for the Indians' Triple-A Columbus affiliate in 2013. He was the key piece in the 2008 trade that sent C.C. Sabathia from Cleveland to Milwaukee.
- The Padres have released pitcher Zach Braddock and infielder Brandon Wood, tweets MLB.com's Corey Brock. Braddock, 26, pitched 51 innings combined in 2010 and 2011 with the Brewers. Wood, of course, was once a top prospect with the Angels. He spent 2013 playing Triple-A ball with the Orioles and Royals, hitting .226/.262/.329 in 252 plate appearances. He last appeared in the big leagues in 2011 with the Pirates.
- The Brewers have released pitcher Eric Arnett, MLB.com's Adam McCalvy tweets. Arnett, a 2009 first-round pick, pitched sparingly in 2013, missing most of the season after having knee surgery.
We'll keep track of today's notable minor moves here ...
- Rounding out a trio of infield depth signings, the Padres have inked Brandon Wood to a minor league deal with no Spring Training invite, according to Corey Brock of MLB.com (via Twitter). The 28-year-old last saw MLB action in 2011. Playing in the Royals and Orioles systems at the Triple-A level last year, Wood .226/.262/.329 line in 252 plate appearances.
- The Twins have re-signed infielder Eric Farris to a minor league deal without an invite to Spring Training, Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDIsh.com tweeted yesterday. Farris, who will turn 28 before the start of the year, has seen very limited MLB action in his career. He registered a .249/.303/.313 line in 452 plate appearances last year across the Double-A and Triple-A levels.
- The Padres have signed infielder Brooks Conrad to a minor league deal that does not include a Spring Training invite, reports FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal (via Twitter). Conrad signed on with the Hanshin Tigers after a tough 2012 MLB campaign, but things failed to pan out in Japan for the soon-to-be 34-year-old. In just 69 plate appearances for Hanshin, Conrad posted a .175/.319/.281 triple-slash.
- You can keep track of any players currently in DFA limbo via MLBTR's DFA Tracker. Three players are still awaiting a final disposition: Santos Rodriguez (White Sox),Rafael Ortega (Rangers), and Adys Portillo (Padres).
Today's minor moves...
- The Yankees have acquired minor league shortstop Alberto Gonzalez from the Cubs in exchange for a player to be named later or cash, tweets Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger. Gonzalez, who first appeared in the big leagues with the Yankees back in 2007, has seen limited MLB action over the last two years for Texas and Chicago. Over 989 career plate appearances, he has a .241/.279/.319 line.
- The Orioles acquired third baseman Brandon Wood from the Royals for cash considerations, tweets Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star. Wood will report to Triple-A Norfolk. The 28-year-old is hitting .264/.304/.396 in 56 Triple-A plate appearances. Wood, then with the Angels, was ranked as the third-best prospect in baseball after the '06 season by Baseball America, which said he profiled as a perennial All-Star. He's received 751 big league plate appearances with the Angels and Pirates, posting a .186/.225/.289 line.
- The Red Sox will promote reliever Jose De La Torre, GM Ben Cherington said today on WEEI's Dennis & Callahan show. The Red Sox transferred reliever Joel Hanrahan, who has at least a flexor muscle strain, to the 60-day DL to open a 40-man roster spot for De La Torre.
- Kyle Kaminska, a righty who was with Boston's High A affiliate, has retired according to Evan Lepler on his MLB.com blog. The 24-year-old had joined the organization in December as the player to be named later in the Zach Stewart deal with Pittsburgh.
Some minor league deals from around the baseball world...
- The Blue Jays have signed right-hander Neil Wagner to a minor league contract with an invite to Spring Training, MLBTR has learned. Wagner has a 3.77 ERA, 2.95 K:BB ratio and 10.2 K/9 rate in 312 career minor league relief appearances in the Padres, A's, and Indians' systems, plus pitched five Major League innings with Oakland in 2011.
- The Angels signed Billy Buckner, Luke Carlin, Brendan Harris, Trent Oeltjen, Jo-Jo Reyes and J.B. Shuck to minor league contracts with invites to the Major League Spring Training camp, reports MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez.
- The Nationals have signed infielder Will Rhymes to a minor league contract with a Spring Training invite, reports the Beverly Hills Sports Council's Twitter page. (Rhymes is represented by the BHSC.) Rhymes was designated for assignment by Tampa Bay in September and has a .266/.328/.343 line in 449 career plate appearances over three seasons with the Tigers and Rays.
- Matt Eddy of Baseball America recaps the week's minor league transactions, including news of Brandon Wood signing a minor league deal with the Royals. Wood, the former Angels third baseman who was once considered one of the top prospects in the game, last appeared in the Majors with the Pirates in 2011 and posted a .722 OPS for the Rockies' Triple-A team in 2012.
A total of 549 minor league players became free agents after the season, and Baseball America's Matt Eddy lists each and every one by team and position. Some are big league veterans (Joel Pineiro, Conor Jackson), some are former top prospects (Andy LaRoche, Brandon Wood), and most fall somewhere in between.
Players who have been in the minor leagues for at least parts of seven seasons are automatically granted free agency, though there are other conditions that allow players to hit the open market earlier in their careers.
Moves listed here without specific attribution come from MLB.com's transactions page...
- The Rockies have signed infielder Brandon Wood, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. Wood will make $100K over the league minimum if he makes the big league roster, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (via Twitter). Wood, of course, was once a blue-chip prospect with the Angels.
- The Twins have signed right-handers Brendan Wise, Jared Burton, Samuel Deduno and Luis Perdomo, and outfielders Matt Carson and Wilkin Ramirez to Minor League deals, tweets Joe Christensen of the Star Tribune.
- The Padres released second baseman Alberto Gonzalez. San Diego appears to be clearing 40-man roster space in anticipation of next month's Rule 5 draft.
- Right-hander Taylor Buchholz elected free agency. The Mets removed Buchholz from their 40-man roster earlier in the week. He would have earned roughly $1.2MM in 2012 had the Mets retained him through arbitration. Earlier in the week GM Sandy Alderson was unsure if anxiety and depression would prevent Buchholz from pitching in 2012.
- The Angels released right-hander Anthony Ortega.
Players outrighted off 40-man rosters today:
- The Reds announced that they outrighted Daryl Thompson and Jared Burton off of the 40-man roster. Burton would have been arbitration eligible for the second time and MLBTR projected a salary in the $900K range for the 30-year-old.
- The Pirates announced that they outrighted Brian Burres, Kevin Hart, Brandon Wood and Steve Pearce to Triple-A to create 40-man roster space. All four players can now elect free agency. Wood and Pearce would have been arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason, and though neither player projected to earn even $1MM, the Pirates decided to cut them loose instead of tendering contracts.
- The Tigers outrighted catcher Omir Santos and lefty Brad Thomas, tweets MLB.com's Jason Beck. Thomas would have been arbitration eligible, but it was clear he wouldn't make it to the point of being tendered a contract after missing much of the season with an elbow injury.
Free agent addition Kevin Correia makes his sixth start as a Pirate tonight and he carries a 3.48 ERA into Pittsburgh's contest with the Rockies and their high-powered offense. Here's the latest on the Pirates...
- The Pirates expect waiver claim Xavier Paul to play all three outfield positions, according to Colin Dunlap of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Manager Clint Hurdle told Dunlap that he's confident Paul can cover lots of ground on defense, a skill the Pirates appear to value more than John Bowker's hitting ability at the moment.
- Hurdle told Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the Pirates didn't have much use for Bowker. "He was my third left fielder, my third right fielder, my third first baseman," Hurdle said.
- Though newcomer Brandon Wood has started three consecutive games at shortstop, Hurdle told Biertempfel that Ronny Cedeno hasn't necessarily lost his job. Cedeno failed to run out a ground ball this week and has been struggling at the plate.
- Earlier this morning, the Pirates returned Rule 5 pick Josh Rodriguez to the Indians.
If they continue at their current pace, the Pirates will win 69 games this year, a level they haven't reached since 2004. That year, Oliver Perez posted a 2.98 ERA with 239 strikeouts, Jason Bay slugged .550, and Jose Mesa saved 43 games. Today's Bucs links:
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports has a feature on the Jeff Clement, one of few draft picks among the first dozen in 2005 who has yet to become at least a big league regular. The Mariners nearly chose Troy Tulowitzki third overall instead of Clement, but GM Bill Bavasi apparently drafted for need. Clement's agent Brodie Van Wagenen believes his client didn't get a legitimate opportunity with the Mariners. Clement is trying to move forward as a first baseman for the Pirates, once he recovers from knee surgery.
- Regarding recent low-risk pickup Brandon Wood, GM Neal Huntington told Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Our scouts still see the authority off the bat, they still see the raw power, they still see the impact. Obviously the guy with this kind of pedigree, sometimes a change of scenery helps these guys. Our due diligence we did said it's a good person, it's a hard worker who needed a change of scenery." Wood's Pirates debut will come tonight at third base, batting sixth against John Lannan and the Nationals.
- Freddy Sanchez took his '09 trade from the Pirates to the Giants hard, he told Brink's colleague Dejan Kovacevic. It didn't help that he wasn't able to contribute much to his new team due to knee and shoulder injuries.
- Be sure to check out MLBTR's Pirates Facebook and Twitter pages and RSS feed. For my look at the team's 2012 contract issues, click here.
The Pirates claimed shortstop Brandon Wood off waivers from the Angels, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Wood had been designated for assignment by the Halos late Tuesday, and the Pirates were first in line in the waiver order.
The former top prospect is now 26 years old, and in 494 big league plate appearances with the Angels he hasn't had success. The Pirates present the perfect opportunity for redemption, as they're one of few teams that can give Wood regular at-bats at shortstop with some leeway for struggling. The scouting report is three years old, but before the '08 season Baseball America said Wood had unexceptional range but could "handle shortstop just fine" defensively. Though he's a shortstop by trade, Wood has played third base as well. MLB.com's Lyle Spencer wrote recently, "It was fascinating to see how different he was when he was in the lineup at shortstop rather than at third."
The claim was a no-brainer for Pittsburgh, a team with few interesting players in the shortstop pipeline. Ronny Cedeno is currently the starter, though the club sought upgrades all winter. The Pirates were able to get Wood for nothing, after the Angels seemingly kept the asking price high on him for years. The Pirates will have to open up a 40-man roster spot to accommodate Wood, and they've said they'll make the corresponding move this afternoon.
Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.